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Home away from home: these startups are helping students find hassle-free accommodation in cities

Apurva P
posted on 22nd September 2018
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With more students coming into cities to pursue higher education, these startups have homed in on the thriving student housing market. 

If you’ve ever had to move to a different city to study you know the pain of finding safe, comfortable accommodation. Be it overflowing hostels, rigid landlords or messy PGs, cutting through the clutter and finding home and hearth in a new city is a tall order.

Student housing in India is a highly unorganised market taking the usual form of campus housing, private hostels and the residential paying guest format. A report by real estate research firm JLL states that the total number of beds in campus housing and private hostels currently available in India is close to 6.1 million. Around 34 million Indian students enroll for higher education, of which nearly 26.6 million students - close to 76 percent - migrate to different cities.

But the colleges and universities are not able to accommodate all their students: according to estimates, cities with facilities of higher education can provide accommodation to just 18 to 20 percent of these 76 percent students. So where do the rest go? Mercifully, several startups have cropped up that help students find living space in a new city, without having to deal with pesky brokers.

While there are many players like Nestaway, Grabhouse, YourOwnRoom that cater to the accommodation market, YourStory draws up a list of the startups that cater to just students seeking accommodation.

Stanza Living

Delhi-based Stanza Living, launched in 2017 by Anindya Dutta and Sandeep Dalmia, is a tech-enabled platform that works on a community-living model for students.

Stanza Living co-founders: Anindya Dutta and Sandeep Dalmia

It currently operates in Delhi and Noida, aggregating and leasing properties from owners, and then remodels as well as redesigns the properties according to student needs. Further, it also provides services like food, Wi-Fi, laundry, security, amongst other things. A Stanza Living residence can accommodate between 40 and 500 people and its rent starts at Rs 5,000, and varies according to the amenities the student decides to opt for.

This year the company claimed that it had two buildings in Delhi, with over 100 students in residence. In November 2017, Stanza Living raised $2 million from Accel Partners and Matrix Partners. Stanza Living is currently clocking a revenue run-rate of Rs 2 crore - Rs 3 crore.

Studentacco

Started by Viren Jain in 2015 and later joined by Aarti Jain and Amit Chhabra, Studentacco is a student-only accommodation marketplace that lists different kinds of student accommodations like PGs and flats.

Delhi-based Studentacco is also working to create branded, ready-to-move-in, fully-furnished living spaces. Currently, it works on an aggregator model and charges PG and house owners for every accommodation closed.

As of 2016, Studentacco claimed that it has over 14,000 student beds across Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad. It charges on an average of Rs 10,000 per bed. It provides clean, spacious, standardised and fully-furnished accommodations. Currently bootstrapped, the startup has revenues close to $2 million as of FY 18.

Placio

Noida-based Placio too functions on a community-living model, offering fully furnished private and shared accommodation for students. Founded by Rohit Pateria, Ankush Arora and Atul Kumar Singh in 2016, the tech-enabled platform is said to focus on the user’s living experience. The company claimed to have close to 1,000 beds as of 2017.

The Placio team

The platform offers carefully curated places of living, which are not only comfortable but also affordable for college-going students. Placio caters to all kind of accommodation requirements, from basic budget to high-end luxury accommodation with pool/TT tables, play station, book exchange counters, and other facilities.

In July this year, it has raised $2 million in pre-Series A funding from Prestellar Ventures, and plans to expand its footprint to Southeast Asia. In FY17, their first financial year, the team claimed to have made a consolidated revenue of Rs 25 lakh.

Your Space

Founded by Nidhi Kumra, Shubha Lal, and Karan Kaushish in 2016, Your Space offers safe and quality housing for students.

Delhi-based Your Space offers 1,200 beds in 11 hostels across India with an average occupancy rate of 80-85 percent. It currently operates in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Pune, Noida and Greater Noida.

On an average, the company charges between Rs 12,000 and Rs 25,000 per bed on a monthly basis, depending on the city and location. Your Space provides safety, security, air conditioning, WiFi facility, furniture and bedding, medical aid, gym facilities, walk-in closets, and personal washrooms.

Your Space claims its current revenues to be around Rs 5 crore. Till date, Your Space has raised $1 million from angels and individual investors.

CoHo

Delhi-based CoHo manages rental accommodations for young professionals and students in Delhi, Gurugram and Noida. CoHo provides ready-to-move-in shared accommodations with all services for hassle-free living. These include housekeeping, Wi-Fi, DTH cable, repairs and maintenance.

Founded in 2015 by Uday Lakkar and Amber Sajid, the startup has raised an undisclosed seed round of funding.

The company now claims to have more than 1,200 residents and is expanding to prominent areas in Delhi-NCR. The monthly fee for a CoHo space is typically between Rs 9,000 and Rs 13,000 with all the amenities included. As of FY18, CoHo will be touching over $3 million in annual revenue run rate.

Zolo Stays

Bengaluru-based Zolo Stays helps students and singles find accommodation with food. By leasing out residential buildings, the platform also offers fully managed co-living spaces.

Nikhil Sikri, Co-founder of Zolo

Founded by Nikhil Sikri, Sneha Choudhry and Akhil Sikri in 2015, Zolo Stays is spread across five cities including Bengaluru, Chennai, NCR, Pune, Kota and Hyderabad. Some of the prominent features include fully furnished rooms, hygienic and healthy food, daily housekeeping, internet facilities, security etc.

The startups claims to have a total of 10,000 beds as of this year. The cost of the bed comes to an average of Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,000 per month for twin-sharing rooms.

The startup raised $4 million from Nexus Venture Partners in its Series A round in December 2016. Zolo’s gross revenues increased from Rs 6.2 crore in FY 17 to Rs 26.4 crore in FY 18.

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